Cop told to ‘tone down gayness’ for promotion is awarded $20 million

New York Post 1 month ago

A veteran St. Louis cop who was told to tone down his “gayness” to get a promotion has been awarded almost $20 million, according to a report.

Sgt. Keith Wildhaber said he was passed over 23 times for a promotion at St. Louis County Police Department and then punished with a transfer when he complained, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said.

His captain, Guy Means, privately called him “fruity” and told a friend that the officer was “way too out there with his gayness and he needed to tone it down” to get a promotion, the jury heard, according to the report.

“We wanted to send a message,” the jury foreman told the paper of the huge payout awarded after three-hours’ deliberation Friday.

“If you discriminate you are going to pay a big price. … You can’t defend the indefensible.”

Wildhaber was awarded $1.9 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages for discrimination. He also got $999,000 in actual damages and $7 million in punitive damages for his retaliation claim, according to the paper.

Means was accused of making his outlandish comments about Wildhaber to Donna Woodland, a colleague’s girlfriend, at a 2015 event. He denied knowing her or remembering the event, the report said.

But Woodland produced photo-booth pictures from the night showing Means giving her warm hugs — images that four jurors told the Post-Dispatch were key in dismissing the captain’s denials.

“The county should be ashamed,” Wildhaber’s attorney, Russ Riggan, told the hearing. “Our community deserves better.”

Riggan told the jury during his closing argument that their decision would have “far-reaching” implications in the fight against workplace discrimination, according to the report.

County Counselor Beth Orwick told the Post-Dispatch that county officials “will be exploring all of our legal options” to “do what’s best for the county.”

With Post wires


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The Sun › 1 month ago
A VETERAN cop told to tone down his “gayness” to win a promotion has been awarded almost £16m compensation, say US reports. Sergeant Keith Wildhaber said he was overlooked 23 times at the St. Louis County Police Department and then hit with a...
Newsweek › 1 month ago
A jury awarded a Missouri police officer $19 million after he said he was told to "tone down his gayness" if he ever expected a promotion.
Evening Standard › 1 month ago
A police officer who was allegedly told to "tone down his gayness" if he wanted to be promoted has been awarded almost $20million in damages.
The New York Times › 1 month ago
A St. Louis County police sergeant has testified that he was told to "tone down his gayness" to secure a promotion to lieutenant.
NBC News › 1 month ago
Sgt. Keith Wildhaber sued the department and claimed that he was told to "tone down his gayness" if he wanted to be promoted.
CBS News › 1 month ago
When asking about a possible promotion, the officer says he was told the command staff had a problem with his sexuality
CNN › 1 month ago
A jury has awarded nearly $20 million to Sgt. Keith Wildhaber after he alleged that the St. Louis County Police Department discriminated against him over his sexual orientation.
Metro › 1 month ago
Sgt Keith Wildhaber was told that he needed to 'tone down his gayness' if he wanted a promotion, and successfully sued for discrimination as a result
New York Daily News › 1 month ago
Sgt. Keith Wildhaber alleged he was passed over 23 times for promotion, and also transferred to a less desirable work location and shift.
CBS News › 1 month ago
When asking about a possible promotion, the officer says he was told the command staff had a problem with his sexuality
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